Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001)

 

Format: 101-minute feature

Rating: R (BN, AC, GV)

Type: Supernatural/Sci-Fi

American Production: Urban Vision

Japanese Production: Filmlink International/BMG Funhouse/Movic/Goodhill Vision/Softcapital

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C+

Story:

B+

Writing:

B

Character Design:

A

Animation:

A

Artistic Merits:

A

English Dub:

B+

Musical Score:

A-

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

Action Content:

A-

Drama Content:

B+

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B

DVD Extras:

B

 

 

OVERALL:

A-

 

Synopsis

      The legendary Dunpeal (half-human, half-vampire) vampire hunter D is back in action in the distant post-apocalyptic future, this time having been hired to rescue a beautiful young woman named Charlotte, who has apparently been kidnapped by the vampire Meier Link. He has competition in the form of a group of capable human vampire hunters called the Marcus Brothers, among who is a young woman named Leila who ably participates in their efforts. Her path and D’s cross often as both D and her group attempt to retrieve Charlotte and return her home. Things get complicated when it turns out that the “victim” may actually be a willing courtier to Meier Link, who may actually genuinely be in love with her. After other failed attempts to find peace and privacy, the love birds ultimately seek out the stronghold of Carmilla, a once-powerful vampire who was slain by D’s father and now haunts her own castle.

 

The Long View

      Bloodlust is a stunning visual achievement. It is easily one of the best-looking anime features ever made, with its rich color scheme, sharp visual contrasts, Gothic sensibilities, and gorgeous settings (especially Carmilla’s castle towards the end). Although I am not a fan of the character design, I still must acknowledge the quality of the work (especially on Carmilla) and how well it contributes to the overall visual effect. The animation is as fluid as you’ll see anywhere and the moody, energetic soundtrack effectively sets the tone for each scene, whether an action sequence or a dramatic dialogue. It is an anime well worth seeing for the visuals alone and a spectacular improvement over the original.

      The story behind Bloodlust is, unfortunately, not as strong. Its story elements and most of its characters are generic, and only the Leila character and the vampire Meier Link see much in the way of character development. The main hero D is, in fact, the most boring character in the whole story even though it’s ostensibly centered on him. Yeah, he gets the dramatic fight scenes, but how interesting, really, is this type of brooding loner without more depth? The presence of the angry human vampire hunter Leila, and her interactions with D, saves the non-action parts of the story from a dreary fate. While the action sequences are quite good, they don’t carry the movie on their own.

      Unlike most anime movies, the original vocal performances for Bloodlust are in English. Most are well-done, although I didn’t care much for the voice of D’s left hand. Listen for Dwight Schultz (of onetime A-Team and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame) in a couple of minor roles.

      The rating for Bloodlust comes primarily from frequent scenes of graphic violence and gore, although there are a few (very brief) shots of nudity. It is not a movie appropriate for younger audiences.

 

DVD Extras

·  Trailers and TV Spots

·  “Behind the Scenes” Feature – a 22-minute featurette showing interviews with both American and Japanese production personnel and clips of the voice actors in action (which is always a welcome feature). Well-paced if not terribly insightful.

·  Storyboard-to-Feature Comparison – three selected scenes are presented with the option to flip back and forth between the finished work and the underlying storyboard.

·  Fan Favorite Scenes – a breakdown of the ten top scenes as selected by fans. I agreed with most of the picks.

  

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

D

Andrew Philpot

D’s left hand

Mike McShane

Leila

Pamela Segall

Meier Link

John Rafter Lee

Charlotte

Wendee Lee

Borgoff

Matt McKenzie

Kyle

Alex Fernandez

Nolt, assorted minor roles

John DiMaggio

Grove

Jack Fletcher*

Carmilla

Julia Fletcher

Polk

John Hostetter

Benge, Old Man of Barbarois

Dwight Schultz

Caroline

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn

Girl

Debi Derryberry

Alan Elbourne, Priest

John DeMita

 

* - also the English dialogue director and script co-adapter, among other production roles

 

 

 

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